Unfortunately, scam job offers abound. Many target translators and interpreters, but anyone offering their services online in any capacity may be targeted. A good rule of thumb for judging whether or not a job offer is a scam is: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
There are various types of scams targeting translators and interpreters. Probably the most common type is the overpayment scam. The details may differ, but these scams all work more or less the same way: a “client” contacts you and offers you a job. The client readily accepts your price quote and conditions and offers to send you partial or full payment in advance via check, money order, or bank transfer, but sends you an amount that is significantly larger (sometimes up to $1,000) than your price quote. The client then asks you to refund the overpaid amount. If you agree, the “client” vanishes (along with your money). Meanwhile, your bank discovers that the client’s check or transfer is fake and charges you a bounced check fee.
There are some well-known “red flags” that make it fairly easy to identify these scams:
- The sender of the e-mail uses a free e-mail service (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.)
- The sender’s e-mail doesn’t match the “reply to” e-mail. The sender’s e-mail may appear to be from a legitimate company domain, but the “reply to” e-mail indicates that, in fact, it was sent from @gmail.com or @yahoo.com.
- The English is poor, with obvious grammatical and other errors and awkward phrasing, despite the fact that the sender uses a name that would appear to indicate that he/she is a native English-speaker.
- The description of the job is very vague and/or the language combination required is not specified (and/or is not a language combination that you work in).
- The client offers to pay in advance. Legitimate clients do not normally pay in advance!
More information about the most common types of translation scams can be found here:
To see some samples of scam job offers that have been sent to members of AATIA and other T&I associations, click here.
If you are unsure whether a job offer you receive through our directory is legitimate, feel free to contact us.